Re: A Question for Wade

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Dec 04 2001 - 07:19:50 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: A Question for WadeDate: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 19:10:42 -0800
    >From: Joe Dees
    >> > "Dace"
    >> >> >The big problem for a neurologically irreducible mind is the apparent
    >> >> >uselesslness of mentality in the functioning of the nervous system.
    >> >> >the rest of your body has no need for a mind, why would the brain
    >> >> >require one?
    >> >> >
    >> >> So that that body could maximize its survival chances in the
    >> >by remembering previously learned environmental lessons, faithfully
    >> >representing the present environment and its threats and opportunities,
    >> >extrapolating them into further likelihoods between which one might be
    >> >to choose most favored alternatives by means of present action. In other
    >> >words, better choices. This also points to conscious self-awareness, for
    >> >is upon the basis of the welfare of the self that such choices would be
    >> >made.
    >> >>>>
    >> >
    >> >But why does the brain require a mind to do those things? If the brain
    >> >represent, remember, and extrapolate, the mind is superfluous.
    >> >
    >> But it requires the existence of self-reference, as a premise, to be able
    >to choose between competing future scenarios, for they are chosen between on
    >the basis of their perceived benefit to that very self, and the effort of
    >volition is engaged in such intentional self-service.
    >All organisms possess self-reference. Life is self-generative,
    >self-regulating, and self-perpetuating. Consciousness, to one degree or
    >another, is universal to life. Every bacterium must feel its way across.
    >Each organism is dedicated to its survival. It senses, learns, and
    >develops. Out of this comes evolution. Whether species or individual, life
    >is self-referential. What's unique about humans is that we can develop as
    >individuals with the same degree of freedom ordinarily reserved for species.
    >We've achieved this, not through self-referentiality per se, but through
    >*mental* self-referentiality. Being unaware of mentality, (pre-ape) animals
    >perceive themselves as bodily creatures in a physical environment. Yes,
    >their minds operate just like ours-- with the same cold logic, as a matter
    >of fact-- but they're not aware that they're engaged in these mental
    >processes. They're just "in the moment," in their bodies in a place, and
    >that's it. With our mental self-perception, humans are capable of examining
    >the way we think and behave, thus amplifying almost infinitely the field of
    >free activity.
    Consciousness of some sort may indeed have a floor; can we truly speak of aware flu viruses? There is a blind chemically based stimulus-response program running there. likewise, lower animals are aware, but they are not aware that they are aware; that is, they are aware of their environments, but not of a themselves engaged in perceiving their environments (check the mirror test of self-recognition) that recursivity is reserved for the more complex and larger-brained species, such as great apes, us, and possibly some cetaceans.
    >> Sorry; brains are not like other organs (even though the brain does
    >regulate them), and therefore metaphors equating them are bound to be
    >fundamentally flawed.
    >Organs are almost entirely self-regulating. The effects of the brain on
    >organs are incredibly minute relative to the degree to which they
    >self-manage. Every organ has to interact with its environment. Each one
    >has to sense in some way what's going on around it. The fundamental sense
    >of life is touch. In fact, all successive senses are in some way based in
    >touch, as in ochular drumbeats and photon splashdowns in the retinal sea.
    >The brain feels its way through, and the heart feels its way through.
    >There's no fundamental difference. If hearts don't need "minds," then
    >neither do brains.
    All our senses ARE modifications of taction, true, but your other point is empirically false; without the cortical regulators the brain possesses and their nervous connections with our hearts and lungs, they would stop their pumping and breathing.
    >> >> >The only way to salvage a notion of mentality (and self-nature)
    >> >> >is to universalize it. Life is mind. Mind is life. What makes a
    >> >> >thing alive is that it can't be understood except in the context
    >> >> >of its own living past. Life is memory. It's not just the brain
    >> >> >that's influenced by mentality (relfexive or not) but every organic
    >> >> >structure.
    >> >> >
    >> >> This sounds like the panvitalistic panpsychism that was propounded by
    >> >Erwin Schrodinger in his books WHAT IS LIFE?, MIND AND MATTER, and MY
    >> >OF THE WORLD. It's kinda a pseudophilosophical Hinduism, believing all
    >> >life, mind and soul to be the expression of a single force, as Hinduism
    >> >proper unites the world-soul with the self-soul in their famous
    >> >pronouncements Brahmatman (Brahmin is Atman) anf Tvat Am Asi (That Thou
    >> >Art). It is irreduceably a mystical and religious, not an empirical or
    >> >philosophical, perspective.
    >> >>>>
    >> >
    >> >I do agree that everything reduces to a single force. In my view, that
    >> >force is time. I interpret Brahman accordingly. Brahman is
    >> >divided between shakti (potency) and maya (illusion). For me, shakti is
    >> >absolute presence of time, which we know through our minds, while maya is
    >> >merely moment-to-moment materialization, which we know through our
    >> >Since whatever we perceive around us has in fact already occurred, the
    >> >material "present" is actually past. In that sense, the realm of the
    >> >is illusory.
    >> >
    >> >As to panpsychism, mind is indeed universal insofar as it's an expression
    >> >time, and time is universal. Life is anima, and time is animation.
    >> >
    >> Your position is then most definitely Vedantist, as such, it is a
    >mystico-religious position, and not a scientific one, as it assumes those
    >very things for which science demands proof. Robin Faichney has been known
    >to try to push the same thing from the Buddhist perspective that you are
    >trying to do from the Vedantist one; in either case, such religious
    >pseudoexplanations are slavishy in thrall to the very mysticoreligious memes
    >which comprise a part (not a whole) of the field of memes that they purport
    >to understand and explain, and thus must ultimately fail in their attempt to
    >analyze what they have already assumed, and to reveal the structural memetic
    >relation in its entirety.
    >Since when was time mystico-religious? Is it not right before you at every
    >moment of your existence? What could be more down-to-earth?
    Perceptual spatiotemporality; we actually perceive matter/energy in the very manifold that Einstein's equations so eloquently describe; in our macro case (neither micro not cosmo), it quite closely adheres to the special case of Newtonian descriptions.
    >> It would be interesting, from a point of view of the understanding of
    >memopathology, to watch from the sidelines the memetic exercise of your two
    >religious ideologies using you two as mouthpiece memebots to argue the
    >issue, however.
    >Now, now.
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >Ted
    >> >
    >> >
    >> >
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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